Robert T. Skunda realized nearly two decades ago that Richmond lacked the lab technicians to support the companies that were trying to grow here.
Skunda led the management and development of Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in downtown Richmond beginning in 1997.
At the time, the park had about 350 people working in four buildings with about 100,000 square feet of space.
Through his efforts, the research park now has about 2,700 employees who work for 60 tenant companies, research institutes and public laboratories.
Skunda retired last year as the park’s president and chief executive officer after 16 years in the position.
Last week, RichTech honored Skunda with its Chairman’s Award, presented annually to an individual or organization that has made a significant impact on the growth of technology in the Richmond region.
His award was part of RichTech’s 19th annual Technology Awards show, where the group honored local organizations and individuals who have helped advance the region’s technology-based economy.
It presented seven other awards. The awards’ names, their descriptions and the winners are:
• Innovation in Community: awarded to an individual or team from a nonprofit or civic organization that displays the most innovative uses of technology to deliver services, advance its mission or impact our community.
Winner: Richmond SPCA.
• Innovation in Education: awarded to the educator who provides exceptional technology leadership and encourages students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering and math.
Winner: Samuel Turner, a technology education/pre-engineering instructor at Holman Middle School in Henrico County.
• Innovation in Emerging Small Business: awarded to a local technology company that has demonstrated the ability to achieve commercial success.
Winner: PlanG, a Richmond-based company that helps people organize, track and expand their charitable giving
• Innovation in Technology Builder: awarded to a local technology company delivering technology solutions and/or services to external clients that build capacity and increase operational efficiency.
Winner: Tridium, a Henrico County-based global software and technology company that developed the Niagara Framework software that helps manufacturers develop Internet-enabled equipment systems and “device-to-enterprise” applications.
• Innovation in Development: awarded to a company or organization whose development of technology applications and/or systems creates processes, methodologies and/or services for its own or others’ benefit.
Winner: Unboxed Technology, a Chesterfield County-based company that creates interactive software tools that help companies train employees, teach customers and increase productivity.
• Innovation in Utilization (large project): awarded to a company or organization whose creative use of existing technology enhances processes, methodologies and/or services for its own or others’ benefit.
Winner: Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which has been recognized for its innovative approach to consolidating and transforming IT.
• Innovation in Utilization (small project): awarded to a company or organization whose creative use of existing technology enhances processes, methodologies and/or services for its own or others’ benefit.
Winner: AMC Technology, a Chesterfield County-based company that develops software that helps call-center agents gain access to consumer data contained in databases.
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